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Doctor optimistic after Redskins' RG3 knee surgery

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Doctor optimistic after Redskins' RG3 knee surgery

WASHINGTON (AP) If Adrian Peterson can do it, maybe Robert Griffin III can, too.

Peterson set an incredible standard this season for NFL players returning from major knee surgery, nearly breaking the NFL single-season rushing record. Griffin need look nowhere else for an inspiration as the Washington Redskins quarterback begins the road back from an operation Wednesday on two ligaments in his right knee.

``I think it gives motivation to everyone,'' said Russ Paine, a physical therapist in Houston who worked with the Peterson as the Minnesota Vikings running back went through rehab.

Griffin had his lateral collateral ligament repaired and his ACL reconstructed for a second time. The surgery was performed in Florida by orthopedist James Andrews, who was optimistic that Griffin would be back on the field this fall.

``We expect a full recovery, and it is everybody's hope and belief that due to Robert's high motivation, he will be ready for the 2013 season,'' Andrews said in a statement released by the Redskins. ``The goal of his treatment is to give him the best opportunity for a long professional career.''

But no two athletes - or knee surgeries, for that matter - are exactly alike, so pinning down a date for Griffin's return is an inexact science. Complicating matters is that Griffin tore the ACL in the same knee in 2009 while playing for Baylor.

University of Maryland head team physician Craig Bennett said football players typically need seven to 11 months to return from a second ACL reconstruction, but that it often takes up to a year for the ligament to be fully healed.

``Typically your first season back from an ACL reconstruction, there's a tendency to have some struggles from time to time,'' Bennett said.

That's what made Peterson so remarkable. He tore an ACL in late December 2011 and was the league's best back in 2012.

Paine said Peterson's focus and intensity in rehab and natural athletic gifts made the quick recovery possible. Many say Griffin has those same qualities, and he was sounding an upbeat tone on Twitter even before the surgery began early Wednesday morning.

``Thank you for your prayers and support. I love God, my family, my team, the fans, & I love this game. See you guys next season,'' Griffin tweeted.

While Griffin heals, the debate will continue as to whether he should have been on the field when he hurt the knee for a final time in the fourth quarter Sunday's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Griffin reinjured his knee in the first quarter and was obviously hobbled, but he stayed in the game after convincing coach Mike Shanahan that all was OK.

``People can limp around; people can be hurting,'' Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young said Wednesday. ``Some of the great John Wayne hero things that have ever happened in football happened because people play hurt.''

The first major injury to Griffin's knee was the torn ACL in the third game of the 2009 season with Baylor, when he was hurt on the opening drive against Northwestern State but kept playing until halftime. Griffin missed the rest of the year but returned in 2010 and won the Heisman Trophy in 2011.

Griffin's first notable injury in the pros was a concussion early this season, which led the quarterback to learn to protect his body better while running the ball.

But last month, at the end of a 13-yard scramble, he sprained the LCL when he was hit by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Griffin missed one game and returned to play in three more while wearing a bulky knee brace, his mobility clearly hindered.

On Sunday, Griffin hurt the knee again as he fell awkwardly while throwing a pass late in the first quarter against the Seahawks. He was mostly ineffective the rest of the game, completing only four passes after that drive.

Griffin finally departed with 6:19 to play in the game, after the knee buckled while he was trying to field a bad shotgun snap.

The No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, Griffin was one of several rookie quarterbacks to make an instant impact on the NFL this season. He set the league record for best season passer rating by a rookie QB and led the Redskins to their first NFC East title in 13 years.

Griffin's knee has kept the nation's capital on tenterhooks all week. He was hurt Sunday. Then Shanahan announced Monday that a second opinion was needed.

Then on Tuesday came word that surgery would be taking place. Wednesday was the actual surgery. While it was taking place, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray said he will invite Griffin to watch President Barack Obama's inaugural parade on a reviewing stand outside the district government building later this month.

``I'd love to have him come, but ... he obviously may be unable. His mobility may be impaired somewhat at that point,'' Gray said. ``My focus right now is on having him successfully get through the surgery.''

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AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen in New York and Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.

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Rookie LG Lewis in concussion protocol after injury during Jaguars game

Rookie LG Lewis in concussion protocol after injury during Jaguars game

OWINGS MILLS – Three takeaways from Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s press conference Monday:

1. Starting left guard Alex Lewis is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Lewis did not finish Sunday’s 19-17 win over the Jaguars, with Ryan Jensen taking over in the fourth quarter. Lewis’ condition will be evaluated during the week.

“I thought he (Jensen) played well,” Harbaugh said. “He always gives you a spark man. He’s physical.  That’s one of the things that we feel really good about. We’ve got some depth in our interior offensive line.”

2. Harbaugh is not worried about critics who aren’t sold on the Ravens’ 3-0 start.

Only five teams in the NFL are 3-0, and the Ravens are one of them. Yet the combined won-loss record of the Ravens’ three opponents so far is 1-8.

Are the Ravens a good team, or simply a product of playing poor competition?

“That’s a fair question, but I think it’s a better question for prognosticators, writers and media,” Harbaugh said. “And it’s cool. It’s good to have that question. It doesn’t matter to us. We don’t have to evaluate ourselves. We just have to get ready to play games.”

3. Harbaugh was fine with the trash-talking after the game between Ravens’ wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“I was actually in the middle of that at one point,” Harbaugh said. “I got caught in the middle of that. It was kind of fun. I thought Steve Smith had a heck of a game. If that’s how he responds to whatever challenge is put before him out there, I’m for having that happen every week. I thought he responded quite well. I think he had eight catches.”   

RELATED: Evaluating Ravens' offense vs. Jags

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Ravens vs. Jaguars Week 3 report card: Defense/special teams

Ravens vs. Jaguars Week 3 report card: Defense/special teams

We've already handed out report cards to the offense after the Ravens' 19-17 win at Jacksonville on Sunday. Now it's time to grade the defense and special teams, which are the driving forces behind the third 3-0 start in franchise history:

DEFENSIVE LINE: A

The Ravens stuffed the Jaguars ground game. Chris Ivory's return was supposed to boost the Jags, but the Ravens held him to 14 yards on 12 carries. Overall, the Jaguars rushed 21 times for 48 yards. The Ravens also once again got interior pass rush pressure. Timmy Jernigan and Lawrence Guy both had sacks, and Jernigan tipped two passes, one of which was intercepted by Tavon Young. Jernigan continues to play the best ball of his career. Brandon Williams finished with four tackles, and undrafted rookie Michael Pierce continues to contribute.

LINEBACKER: A-

The Ravens linebackers made an impact against the run and also against the pass, both with pressure and in coverage. Terrell Suggs, who had been quiet for 2 1/2 games, recorded a pair of fourth-quarter sacks. C.J. Mosley had an acrobatic one-handed interception, and Zach Orr picked off the Jaguars last pass after it was tipped by Lardarius Webb. Coverage by the linebackers was a major issue last season but has been much improved. Orr had  a team-high eight tackles. Second-round rookie Kamalei Correa saw his first defensive snaps of the season and showed well but dropped what might have been a pick-six interception.

SECONDARY: B

Eric Weddle was fully involved, with four tackles, two pass breakups and a few blitzes. Tavon Young recorded his first interception and Lardarius Webb tipped a pass that was picked off by Zach Orr.  Shareece Wright had some issues for the second straight week. He was beaten twice by Allen Robinson for touchdowns, and expect teams to continue to go after him with Jimmy Smith on the other side.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

The special teams unit produced two of the biggest plays of the game -- Justin Tucker's 54-yard field goal that proved to be the game-winner, and Brent Urban's blocked field goal that set up the Ravens game-winning drive. But before that, the usually solid special teams had been a mess. Devin Hester, brought in mainly for his dependable ball security, fumbled away a punt return. Back-to-back penalties on Morgan Cox essentially cost the Ravens more than 25 yards on one punt sequence. The Ravens gave up a 42-yard punt return that set up the Jaguars' first touchdown. This group made the big plays at the end but is usually much better overall.

MORE RAVENS: OFFENSIVE REPORT CARD